How to transport a drone on a plane?
Are you planning to fly abroad with a drone in the near future? Wondering how to safely transport a drone on a plane ? Then you are in the right place. In this article, we will show you practical guidelines for transporting your drone. Please note that regulations may vary from airline to country and traveling with drones is actually easy if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Drone in the plane. Can it be carried in hand luggage?
The drone is subject to very similar rules as other electronic equipment, such as cameras. It is best to carry your drone in your hand luggage as this allows you to better control its safety . Make sure that the device is protected against accidental activation and damage. In addition, we recommend that additional batteries be secured in a special lipo bag that protects in the event of a short circuit - but more on that later in the article.
How to transport a drone on a plane?
Before leaving, check whether the use of the drone in the place you are going to will be possible. In some countries, the use of a drone is completely prohibited and it can be confiscated by customs . You can read more about this in our article, Flying a drone abroad. Regulations and guidelines ”. For international travel or stringent security regulations, it is possible that your drone will be scanned at the airport. Be prepared for your drone being handed over for security checks.
Before traveling, you should properly prepare the drone for transport . Turn it off and secure all moving parts such as propellers and gimbal. Cover the drone with special protections, such as a gimbal cover or a waterproof hard case . You can also use foam or soft material to wrap the drone to minimize the risk of damage during transportation.
If you are taking the BSP with you in your hand luggage, placing it in a secure case, cover or packaging will provide adequate protection. Batteries should be secured in a special Li-Po bag . If you decide to check in your drone via checked baggage, remember to remove the batteries first, as in most cases batteries must be carried in your hand baggage. Pack any items that may be considered dangerous, e.g. screwdrivers, in your checked baggage.
Pay attention to the requirements for transporting drones by the specific airlines you will be traveling with. More details on this subject will be presented at a later stage of the article, using the example of the most popular airlines in Poland. If you are planning to fly with an airline that is not mentioned in the article, consult or obtain information from the website of the respective carrier.
How to transport drone batteries on a plane?
According to airline regulations, lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries should be carried in carry-on baggage , not in checked baggage. The rule may differ in particular from the selected airline. Protect it in a separate, non-conductive package to avoid accidental short-circuiting .
Special bags are available for lithium polymer batteries to help reduce the spread of fire in the event of a short circuit or self-ignition of the battery. We recommend the use of lipo bags for extra safety when traveling. Be prepared that the airport staff may ask you to open your bag and check it.
First of all, check what type of battery your device has. For drones that are powered by lithium-ion/lithium-polymer batteries with a capacity not exceeding 100 Wh, it is allowed to carry them in hand luggage and checked baggage, while in the case of a capacity greater than 100 Wh and not exceeding 160 Wh, the consent of the air operator is additionally required .
Batteries for ordinary, popular drones can be transported with peace of mind. For example - the battery for the DJI Mini 3 has 18.1 Wh, and the larger DJI Mavic 3 Pro 77 Wh. Only drone batteries for specialist applications such as Matrice 200/ 300/ 30 have a capacity exceeding 160 Wh. To read and convert capacity from mAh to Wh, the following equation can be used:
Wh = (mAh * V) / 1000
- Wh - capacity expressed in watt-hours
- mAh - capacity expressed in milliamp-hours
- V - voltage expressed in volts
The most popular airlines in Poland and their guidelines
Below you will see the guidelines of the most popular airlines operating in Poland, which may be useful when traveling by plane.
Ryanair - can drones be transported?
Drones powered by a lithium battery can be carried on board the aircraft, provided that the battery power does not exceed 160 Wh . If the battery capacity exceeds this value, the device will not be allowed to board the aircraft.
For Ryanair, drone batteries may only be carried in carry-on baggage for personal use. A maximum of 15 personal electronic devices and 20 lithium batteries per passenger may be carried on a single flight. They must be protected against short circuits - battery terminals should be protected or closed to avoid contact with metal objects, including terminals of other batteries.
It's worth visiting the Ryanair website before your flight to stay up to date.
Drone batteries with a capacity of up to 100 Wh may only be carried in hand luggage , with a maximum of 20 spare batteries . It is important that such batteries are properly protected against the possibility of a short circuit.
For batteries with a capacity of 100Wh to 160Wh, a maximum of 2 batteries may be carried in hand luggage with the consent of the carrier . It is important that each battery is individually protected.
Permission from LOT is required to transport a drone in checked baggage. To do this, please contact support. Drones stored in checked baggage must be turned off completely and properly secured to avoid damage. In addition, the consent of the carrier is required.
Wizzair - drone in hand luggage: Is it possible to carry it?
On January 9, 2023, the airline Wizzair announced on its Twitter that the transport of drones is not allowed . This information can also be found on their website. Can I take a drone/hoverboard with me? - "No, unfortunately, for security reasons, such devices are not allowed to be taken on board or in checked baggage." We also received such information in the chat.
In the case of Lufthansa airlines, transporting a drone is possible in hand and checked baggage. However, in the case of broadcasting a drone, you must remove the batteries from it (up to 100 Wh) and take it with you in your hand luggage. It is worth remembering that both devices in checked baggage and batteries must be completely turned off and protected against damage. Each person is limited to a maximum of 20 spare batteries .
In the case of devices from 100 Wh to 160Wh, it is possible to carry them in hand luggage only with the consent of the carrier . It is forbidden to transport batteries over 160 Wh.
It's worth visiting the Lufthansa website before your flight to stay up to date.
KLM airlines allow the transport of up to 15 electronic devices with a lithium battery with a capacity of up to 100 Wh. You can take up to 20 spare lithium batteries with a capacity of up to 100 Wh in your hand luggage . It is important that all these devices are completely turned off. If you want to transport a device with a lithium battery up to 160 Wh, you must apply for a special permit. Please note that batteries exceeding 160 Wh are not allowed.
Spare lithium batteries are only accepted in carry-on baggage . Before traveling, make sure that the devices are properly packed to protect them from possible damage. It is important that none of them are damaged or defective.
It's worth visiting the KLM website before your flight to stay up to date.
You can carry up to 20 drone batteries with a capacity of up to 100 Wh in your hand luggage. It is not allowed to post them in checked baggage. Please note that all these devices must be turned off completely while traveling. You can check in your drone in your checked baggage, but remember to remove the batteries from it.
Special regulations apply to spare lithium-ion batteries between 100 Wh and 160 Wh. Each person is allowed to carry a maximum of two such batteries , which are only allowed in carry-on baggage . Prior to travel, it is necessary to obtain the appropriate approvals from the carrier in order to transport such batteries.
To stay up to date, visit the Norwegian website before you travel.
When traveling by plane with a drone, follow the rules and regulations listed above. Please refer to the guidelines of the airline and destination country as regulations may differ. It is usually better to carry a drone in hand luggage to have control over it and minimize the risk of damage. For batteries, please pay attention to airline capacity and quantity limits. Protect the drone from damage during transport and enjoy the flight!